The return and drive volley is an exciting tactic that has recently been established in the women’s game. Instead of allowing this ball to bounce, and possibly losing her dominant position, the returner instinctively chooses to play this shot out of the air as a drive volley. An early, aggressively hit second serve return can often force a high, defensive reply from the server. As with the groundstroke attack tactics mentioned earlier, the amount of time and pace pressure exerted on the server is the key to this tactic’s success.
Figures 2.16 and 2.17 show how the drive volley can be hit either into the space (figure 2.16) or back behind the server (figure 2.17) depending on how quickly the opponent is able to recover. In figure 2.16 a second serve is hit out wide from the advantage court. a powerful return hit from inside the baseline has forced the server to defend with a high shot hit down the line. the returner has recognised this ball as a drive volley and moves farther inside the court to play it out of the air. She hits crosscourt into
the space that has been R created. Note that only a large target area is needed forthe drive volley because time pressure, rather than accuracy, often wins the returnerthe point. In figure 2.17 the same aggressive return has been hit forcing the high, defensive shot hit down the line. This time the returnersees the server recovering too quickly across the court, so she hits her drive volley down the line—back behind her opponent. Again, the same large target area is used for her drive volley.
It is also important for the returnerto notice which side of her opponent elicits a higher, more defensive return. For example, an aggressive return hit wide
to a single-handed backhand may force more high balls than the same return hit to the double-handed backhand. This is because the singlehander may be forced to hit a slice backhand that may float because of a lack of strength when played under extreme pressure.
To practice using the drive volley after the return, see drill 2.8 on page 79.
the drive volley will be used as a second shot by the returning team in doubles just as it is in singles. In other words, a dominating second serve return will often be followed by a drive volley that is hit either crosscourt to the server or down the line to the server’s partner at the net. this is similar to how the return and ground- stroke attack is used. Again, this tactic allows the returning team to maintain control of the court by applying time and pace pressure onto their opponents. players who lack confidence in their normal volley technique should choose to use this tactic whenever possible (because the drive volley is similar to groundstroke technique in its execution).